SEMICON West 2008: Crossing Boundaries

By Francoise von Trapp, managing editor

Driven by end-system-level design, the next era of electronics will call for the integration of processes across the supply chain, from the chip to the board. “Packaging is going to be the enabling technology &#151 not the microprocessor, not the memory,” explained Tom Morrow, VP of global expositions and marketing at SEMI. “There’s not going to be an end to application diversity.” This concept is the motivator for the programs at SEMICON West 2008, held July 14-17 at the Moscone Center, San Francisco, which Morrow says will focus more on back-end processes &#151 assembly, test and packaging &#151 than ever before.

According to Morrow, the nature of the industry has changed. Critical mass is moving to the back-end. The fabless model is maturing; the concept is more accepted daily. However, the number of fabless companies is declining as microprocessors become full featured. Multi-chip packages (MCPs) are becoming prevalent. “The question is, how do we work together to address emerging issues?” asks Morrow. “It requires a more integrated relationship of players in the food chain.” Using the iPhone as an example, he explained how devices from a variety of manufacturers need to be synchronized with each other.

SEMI organizers asked themselves how to capture that innovation and bring these people together. They identified Silicon Valley and SEMICON West as the best place and time to bring these players together. “We have better programs than in the past, covering technology horizontally,” he said. The driver is mobile consumer electronics.”

To this end, SEMI has partnered with other organizations like IMAPS and MEPTEC for this year’s programs. On Monday, July 14, IMAPS and SEMI present a wire bonding workshop, chaired by Joe Bubel, of Hesse and Knipps, which will feature a full day of presentations devided into sessions addressing Applications and Ultrasonics, Heavy Wire Wedge & Ribbon Bonding, and Stacked Die, Copper, and Reliability. Presenters span the industry from R&D institutes, to equipment and materials manufacturers.

The SEMICON West Packaging Summit, It’s a 3 D World: Charting the Path to TSV happens Tuesday, July 15. Collaboration requirements will be addressed, as the acceleration of through silicon via (TSV) technology requires co design and a collaborative approach. “TSV is almost too hot,” commented Morrow. “It’s taking on a life of its own.” He said SEMI is hoping to bring visibility of design rules for TSV device companies. For example, Lam Research will discuss their wafer processing capabilities for TSV production.

For the first time, SEMICON West will include a Mobile Electronics Day to illustrate how all these products are coming together, explained Morrow, adding that embedded issues will be covered well, with strong participation from Qualcomm. This day of programs and events focuses on the unique challenges and opportunities in microelectronics presented by today’s revolution in mobile electronics and highlighting the issues around mobile device design, packaging, and test.

“The great supply chain that worked in the past is going to be dysfunctional in the future.” predicts Morrow “It’s a new world. The next era will be driven by the end system-level designer.”


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